Katy Chiles

Associate Professor


Katy Chiles teaches and writes about African-American and Native American literature, early American literature and culture, and critical race theory. Affiliated with the Africana Studies and American Studies programs, Professor Chiles teaches courses such as Major Black Writers, the Antebellum Black Atlantic, Black American Literature and Aesthetics, Critical Race Theory, and the Colloquium in Literature. In 2010, she was awarded the Hodges Excellence in Teaching Award for Assistant Professors by the UT English Department. Her research has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, the Newberry Library, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Her book, Transformable Race:  Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literatures of Early America , was published in 2014 by Oxford University Press.  She is currently working on another book project that examines race, collaboration, and print history in early American literature.


Ph.D.  Northwestern University

M.A.  Northwestern University

B.A.  University of Kentucky




Transformable Race:  Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literatures of Early America.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2014.


  • “Becoming Colored in Occom and Wheatley’s Early America.” PMLA 123.5 (2008).
  • “Within and without the Raced Nation: Intratextuality, Martin Delany, and Blake; or the Huts of America.” American Literature 80.2 (2008): 323-52.
  • “Blackened Irish and Brownfaced Amerindians: American Whiteness in Dion Boucicault’s The Octoroon.” Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film 31.2 (Winter 2004): 28-50.

Reviews and Entries

  • “The Law and Black Folk.” Review of Disturbing the Peace: Black Culture and the Police Power After Slavery, by Bryan Wagner. Criticism, 2012.
  • Book review of Early African American Print Culture, eds. Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein.  Modern Language Review, 2013.

  • Book Review of Removable Type: Histories of the Book in Indian Country, 1663-1880, by Phillip Round. Early American Literature, 2012.
  • Entry on Martin Delany’s Blake; or the Huts of America.  Encyclopedia Virginia (www.encyclopediavirginia.org), published by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in partnership with the Library of Virginia and the University of Virginia and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • Review of A Hideous Monster of the Mind: American Race Theory in the Early Republic, by Bruce Dain. Early American Literature 43.2 (2008): 511-16.
  • “John Marrant.” The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature. Eds. Hans Ostrom and J. David Macey. Vol. 3. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2005. 1034-35.
  • Review of Spiritual Interrogations: Culture, Gender, and Community in Early African American Women’s Writing, by Katherine Clay Bassard. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 21.2 (Fall 2002): 411-14.

Awards, Honors & Grants

  • Newberry Library Short Term Fellowship for Individual Research, Newberry Library,  2014-15
  • Stephen Botein Short-term Visiting Academic Research fellowship, American Antiquarian Society,  2014-15. 
  • Chancellor’s Grant for Faculty Research, University of Tennessee Office of Research, Spring 2014
  • Faculty Teaching Award, University of Tennessee English Department Graduate Students in English,  2012-2013.
  • Professional Development Award, University of Tennessee Graduate School, 2011-12.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend, “We the People” designation.  2010.
  • Hodges Excellence in Teaching Award for Assistant Professors, University of Tennessee English Department.  2009-10.
  • Edward C. Carter Library Resident Research Fellowship, American Philosophical Society. 2009-10.
  • Scholarly and Research Incentive Funds Grant, University of Tennessee Office of Research. 2009.
  • Chancellor’s Grant for Faculty Research, University of Tennessee Office of Research. Spring 2009.
  • Mellon Foundation Grant, Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Northwestern University.  Fall 2007.
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education.  2001-03; 2004-06.